Happy Cantonese!

Body language/word battles, Entries, Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

15th May 2017

Today I am very happy, because I had my first “kind of proper” CANTONESE conversation with my landlady when I was going to pay the rent at her home.

My landlady is a typical Hakka lady in her 80ies. I used to communicate with her with the help of her daughter, the property agent and/or my friends. Although I know she does not understand Mandarin, I kept speaking with her in Mandarin, in the big desperate hope, she would understand one or two words.

Her house’s door is always open, when she is at home. She does not have a bell, the only way to ask her come out, is shouting.

Me: Po po! Po po! Jou san! Jou san! chin lai a!
Me: Old woman! Old woman! Good morning! Good morning! Money arrived!

She ( somewhere from the house): bin ghoh x x x  ngo a?
She: Who x x x  me?

Me: ngo hai a! Ngo hai Nobu!
Me: It is me! It is Nobu!

She: dang dang! Ngo lai x x x
She: Wait for a while! I come x x x

[…]

She: lei x x x  hoi sum
She: You x x x  happy!

Me (to be humble): m hai! Po po, lei sik jor fan mei a?
Me (to be humble): Nooooo, I am not! Old woman, have you eaten?

She: sik jor la! Lei le?
She: I have eaten already! What about you?

Me: dai sik jor la!
Me: I have already eaten, too.

Frankly, speaking I have not understand each word, but I think I got the key words. I also did not know the word for “rent” or “pay”, I just used words I have learned in my Cantonese class during the last 4 weeks so far.

The conversation was simple and yet so fruitful and so happy!

Everyone, have a happy Monday!

Wushu competition in Wan Chai 2017

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12th May 2017

我参加了我第三个武术比赛 (省港澳武術邀請賽 2017): 比赛对我来说,不是赢或者输的问题。比赛只是一个目的,通过比赛面对自己的弱点,不再抗拒。是一个会让我进步的办法。最大的对手是我自己的不自觉。
2年练习的结果是在比赛裁判看着的两分钟。活在当下。只有一次机会。
这次我最自豪的是打破自己的记录。得到了8.95分?!
我一定继续加油吧!

★〓★〓★

★〓★〓★

Last month I have participated at the Hong Kong Macao Wushu Competition in Wan Chai together with my Kung Fu sister Mariko, who is also a student of the Natural Energy Academy under Joe Lok. Our master, Jenny, Fanny and James came to support and assist us.

Compared to the Shatin competition, which I have mentioned earlier, this competition was much smaller (only half day!), more expensive (individual with one performance cost 250 HKD) and much more exciting! There have been more “rare” martial artists, which I have not seen before and they are so awesome!

For me, competition is not about WIN or LOOSE the game. It is about having a target. Through this target I am facing my weakness: there is no way to run away from difficulties and resistance. It is my way to improve my form. The biggest enemy in the competition is not my opponent, but my own unawareness.

This time I have performed “5 elements punching form” with slightly changes. (Coming to this point, I had the thought that I could add an video link here to invite you, to have a look at the competition. Let me think about it!)

Everything what I have learned, experienced in these 2 years, was squeezed into 2 minutes of my life during the competition. This made me so nervous, that I forgot my steps during the warming up! In fact, I only have this chance, there is no next time in this moment. NOW. Live the moment. Do not expect anything. I can do it!

I did it. And I enjoyed it! I felt powerful and calm! And you know what?  I broke my own record again! I got 8, 95 points (out of 10!). And not only that… I even got a gold medal! Wow!! It was my first time to win something and I could not believe for a while (^▽^;).

I will definitely continue to practice and improve! See you at the next competition!

The sound of Cantonese language

Entries, Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong 1 Comment »

11th May 2017

Recently I have started to learn Cantonese. Not just words here and there. And give up. And pick it up again. No, in a course with a teacher, classmates, on a regular basis, daily practice with strangers as well as friends.

I have been here so long time, and all these years I did not really need Cantonese. There was always a way to communicate with body language, English or Mandarin. In fact, I resisted learning Cantonese. First of all, I felt Cantonese is an aggressive language. It sounds like a machine gun. Every time when I listened to the news I had the feeling that the reporters were angry, and that they quarreled and shouted at each other. Not seldom I got headache by just listening the news. Secondly, I was afraid to mix up Cantonese and Mandarin.

So, why did I start learning Cantonese now?

I have a desire: I would like to communicate with my local friends, join more volunteer activities,  gain a deeper knowledge about the local life and be able to communicate with my landlord (without translator).
PLUS I am confident enough that I am not going to mix up Cantonese and Mandarin.

During the class, I have realized Cantonese is not an aggressive language, but an energetic one. It requires a lot of mouth and face movement. It is almost like a mouth+face yoga!

The Cantonese teacher encourages the students to write the sounds in our own languages, additionally to the Yale-System (= Cantonese Pinyin).  I found it quite helpful to use another language to learn a new language (without getting confused!). I am using now Japanese and German to remember the Cantonese word.  Can you recognize them in the picture?

Not only that, it is also fun! In this way, pronunciation is much easier and – in my case – also lowers the resistance level to talk. (P.S. Tones cannot be remembered by this method.)

Through the Cantonese lessons, I have discovered again the joy of learning a new language! There will be further entries about Cantonese! So, stay tuned!

Cantonese Slang (1): 掃街

Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

10th May 2017

I came across an interesting Cantonese word while I was reading a food magazine:

“掃街” (sou3 gaai1*)

What is that!?

Ok, let me breakdown this word first. It consists of two words

掃 (sou3*)  = to sweep, to broom  &  街 (gaai1*) = street

So, it literally means “sweep the street”.

But why  “掃街” is mentioned in a food magazine and what is the relationship between “sweeping the street” and food?

Well, “掃街” describes the action of walking along the street and eating different street food and snacks e.g. egg waffle, stinky tofu, curry fish balls, sweet-sour soup, chicken wings, deep fried veggies, . All kinds of food-to-go!

In fact, “掃街” is a popular activity in Hong Kong. I also did it a lot, especially when I have just arrived in Hong Kong. Mong Kok, Prince Edward, Hung Hom etc. –  without knowing that this activity has a Cantonese word!

What is your favorite district/area/street to “掃街”ing?

 

* Cantonese Pinyin is based on “Yale system”.

Wushu competition Shatin district 2017

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4th May 2017

With some delay, I would like to share with you my experience on the Wushu competition for Shatin District at the beginning of this year.

This competition is quite a big one in Hong Kong. In 2016 as well this year, it was held on 2 days from 9 am to 9pm!  It seems this competition is well known among Wushu and Chinese Martial Art Lovers. Last year and this year, a wide range of age groups – from 5 years to 80 years old – and various styles of Chinese martial artists gathered together to participate at this competition and to demonstrate their skills.

This year I attend the competition with 3 of my Kung Fu sisters. And other Kung Fu sisters came to support us! And our master also came!  We all are training in the Natural Energy Academy under master Joe Lok.

I performed “5 elements punching form”. And i broke my own record! I am so so happy! In the previous competition I have received only 7.xx points with almost the same form. This “5 elements punching form” was more powerful. But now I achieved 8.14 (out of 10) points!! What a progress!! Well done myself! So happy!

I am very proud of myself, that I decided to participate at this competition. I used to hate competitions. I had put down my fear to loose, to fail. Joining a competition means (for me) to set a target and practice and improve until the competition came and enjoying every little progress. What I have learned from this process was “Expect nothing and appreciate everything!”

The Shatin District Competition is usually held beginning of the year. And enrollment would start around 3 months before that. Participation costs are relatively low. It starts from 60 Hong Kong Dollar/per person/per form. It is reasonable. And even you do not do any martial art, watching the performance is pretty awesome! Some of the moves I have seen before just in one of those Jackie Chan movies. WOW! It is so exciting! So, maybe I see you there in 2018?

All life is encounter

Thoughts, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

14th February 2017

Back in 199x, I met Yang Wei Wei in Shenyang. If I had not met her and her family, I would probably never be interested in China, their language and their culture and …. I would never had the dream of working in China …. and ….  I would be never here in Hong Kong!

My mom asked me whether I still have contact with her. And I answered that I have lost the contact with her. My father asked me as well and I denied.

Last night my Chinese teacher asked me “What if you meet Wei Wei again, what would you do? What would you say, when she stands in front of her?” …. I could not answered immediately, instead my eyes filled with tears and I started to cry.  That moment when I cried, I AWARE that I was the one killed any possibilities to find her and family again because I am afraid of the language barrier, rejection, fear and disappointment. Finally I answered “I would cry. I would hug her. And then thank you her and tell her how our faith changed and influenced my life!”

In fact, I have nothing too loose, except some tears. The language barrier is not a problem any more, because my Chinese has improved!

I am now gathering information, I am determined to write a letter in Chinese to “my” old high-school in Shenyang. They might have some further information. I will keep you update!

 

Result of HSK 5, Chinese Exam

Entries, Learning Chinese & HSK, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

13th February 2017

When I came back from my trip, a letter was waiting for me. A letter from the Yale-China Chinese Language Center/The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where I took the exam of HSK5 last December. It must be the score report!!!

I opened the letter calmly until I saw my score:

Wohooooo! I did it!! ✧*。٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و✧*。 I passed HSK5 (equal to C1) Chinese language proficiency!

I received a lot of encouragements and support from my friends and family! With their support I felt strong: I let go my expectations and fear. Be in present!! Learn, take a break, learn, play, learn! Thank you!!

还有进步的空间,我继续努力! There is still place for improvement, I will keep learning! \\\٩(๑•̀ㅂ•́)و////   Please keep on supporting me!! Next goal: HSK6 by latest 2018!

 

 

Winter clothes distribution for refugees in HKG

Thoughts, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

2015-12-23

Lei Hou RefugeesThe topic “refugees” can be seen nearly every day on TV in Europe. BUT did you actually know that there refugees in HKG? There ARE around 10.000 refugees living in HKG!!!! Where? How is their living condition here? From where? How does the government support them? All these I have not known before, and surprisingly I was not the only!  Therefore, in November I organised together with “HairAid.Hk” –  a newly founded organisation in HKG cutting hairs for people in needs – an awareness and fund raising event for refugees in HKG. The event includes a lot of activities and I was particularly responsible for the flea market. Most of the unsold goods (clothes, shoes, toys, kitchen tools etc.)  have been donated directly to our beneficiary “Christian Action” (= CA) afterwards.

After this event, I was wondering how and when those clothes would be distributed and asked CA for some photos. Due to privacy reasons and protect refugees’ identity, it was not possible to receive photos. Instead I have been invited to join the winter clothes distribution early December!  I took annual leave to join this meaningful event. I felt very excited!

The room was filled with clothes with wide range from for toddlers until adult’s fashion. Beside our donation CA had received a lot of other donations. Every refugee (=client) with a ticket could came in and take a clothes, he/she like. For free, and as many as they wanted within a limited time frame of 15 minutes.

Frankly speaking I was very surprised how reserved they are. They took what they really need and like. I asked one of them why s/he would not take more as it is for free, and the answer was very simple “Not enough space.”

This “scene” was very unusually for me. Imagine,at those crazy sales from luxury brands, are the people that generous? In that moment, people (including me) just focused on a great deal, to find something nice for the next cocktail party. I may use them only occasionally, or I do not have space, but I would still buy. I felt ashamed.

Winter Clothes DistributionTogether with this feeling in my heart, I was even eager to find what the client at the winter clothes distribution requested. Jacket in M size and in blue colour? -> OK, I will search with you. Long trousers for doing sports in bigger size? ->Sure, I will help you to find! You need this shirt in blue instead of pink?-> Let me check for you! It is not that easy, as each client only has 15 minutes time and the donated clothes are roughly tidied up only. The client’s “thank you” and “smile” afterwards are priceless. It made me nearly cry!

I found out that most of the clothes are in smaller size (asian size), there is a lack of “bigger” size for women. Next time, I will definitely donate my clothes to CA directly, instead of put them into the clothes collection boxes from other organisations.

It was such an meaningful and touching day! And it make me think a lot about my life, what do I really need or what I just want to own. If I had only one second time to flee from home, what would I take? What would you take?

In love with the hottest chicken in town

4U!-Recommended, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

2015-12-18

Do you also sometimes suddenly carving for something?

Well, I was desperately seeking for the German style “grilled spring chicken”, crispy skin, soft and juicy meat with lots of herbs and soaked taste until to the bones. Just by thinking of it, I am getting hungry! Most of the chicken I ate here are either bloody (Hainan Chicken), deep fried (KFC) or simply the taste remains in the chicken skin only while the chicken meat is dry and tasteless. Where shall I get my chicken now? No, idea.

I was hungry, desperate and lost, when I saw the sign “Goobne Chicken – Korean style oven baked chicken”  hanging outside of a tall building in Mong Kok. Never heard about it.  Why not, try? I wanna eat chicken anyway.

Incredible yummy chickenI entered into a  big restaurant with lots of space,  wide windows and sunny places (which is rare in HKG!). After an authentic, helpful “consultation” with an enthusiastic Korean waitress with a great smile I ordered the “Original Korean oven baked chicken”. It has been served in a basket on a wooden chopping board with some sauce and pickles (photo in the right down corner). It was a huge portion (one whole chicken by my own!). CAUTION HOT! I took a chicken leg and bite in…. oh my gosh,  it was incredible yummy! Crispy skin, with juicy meat and great taste until the last bite! I did not even touch the sauce! I really enjoyed it so much! It was indeed love at the first bite!!!

Afterwards I went there with my friends few times. I ate other chickens and my favourite one is 1) “Original Korean oven baked chicken” and 2) “Honey Curry chicken”. The last one is not traditional Korean style chicken, but honey taste is booming in Korea, so they  invented a new style taste to keep up with the boom. I like the twist of sweet and a bit spice taste!

“Goobne Chicken” has a restaurant in TST and Mong Kok. I went to both. I personally like the one in Mong Kok, because the service is nicer and it seems not so many people dining there. I highly recommend not to go there during peak hours  as the  time is limited to 90 minutes only. If you are in the big group, it might be a bit too rush. During peak hours they will not accept any reservation. I went there at 3pm (late lunch) and 6pm (early dinner).

So, if you are curious now and want to try the hottest chicken in town (in my point of view) , try “Goobne Chicken” :

5/F, King Wah Centre, 628 Nathan Road, Mong Kok

Tel.: 2116 0002

Currently, on Openrice there is a promotion: up to 20% in Lunch hour and midnight hours.

 

The street I was living

Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

9th August 2015

For me some words in Chinese sounds same, although the meaning is totally different. And for sure I don’t know it, until I something (usually) unpleasent happened or somebody tell.

I use to live on Suspicious streetCooke Street (some people write it wrong as “Coke street” or even “Cock Street”). I have  heard a lot of ppl saying “Pokk gai” and I believed I was living on “Pokk gai”.

One day I took a cab and said to the cab driver “Pokk gai!”. It seems he did not understand, so I repeat it a bit louder “POKK GAI!!!” and … the cab driver got angry “!??hoswifhsdklofsnjdlfkhso!” What the hell happened? Ok, he won’t take me to “Pokk gai” and I stopped another cab. I asked a bit more friendly this time “Pokk gai…. ?” And same the cab driver refused to take me.

Desperately I was, I asked my friend for help. And then I found out that “Pokk gai” have this meaning: CLICK HERE 

And actually I was living in “Cokk gai”……

 

 

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